Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires PAL is region free, works in US PS3

I bought the UK (PAL) version of Dynasty Warriors 7 : Empires because I’m old school and like to have a disk in my hand for the new game I just purchased. I know the vast majority of PS3 games are region free, meaning you can import games from other territories and play them, but that there have been some exceptions (apparently including an earlier DW title).

DW7E_EU_Cover

It’s so pretty. It even comes with a full color manual that is actually helpful! Old school, indeed.

I looked over Google for a forum post or anything that might confirm that the game was region free, but mostly ended up with piracy links. I found the game on Play Asia’s site and it has it listed as region free. So I took the chance trusting the site and bought the game on Amazon, keeping my fingers crossed.

After a bit longer delivery wait time than I’m used to (my friends and I jested that it was arriving via ancient Chinese warship), I got the game and fired it up last night. It works perfectly in my North American (NTSC) 60GB “Fat” PS3, so I can confirm that the game is region free.

Hopefully that can help someone looking for the same info I was. As for the game itself? I’ve long given up on my mini reviews for this blog, but I can say that it is awesome. If you (and your coop friends) enjoyed DW6:Empires, you will certainly love this game. They basically expanded and improved on the previous title in every way. Even my friend who has never played the series before insisted on staying up until 2am on a work night to drink beers and couch coop it. =)

Dawn of War 2 Retribution Skidrow LAN fix for name in use error

We have been playing Dawn of War 2: Retribution with the Skidrow crack (version 3.13.0.5955) because we wanted to play the game in our local (and offline) LAN without any bullshit. We had the game working swell on two computers, but after that we discovered the other PCs in our LAN would get an strange error when trying to join the game.

The name you are trying to use is already in the game

The other odd thing was once the error occurred, the person trying to join would “push” their name onto the host.  Now, of course, our names were different and we checked all the obvious things like the the various config files and I even searched the registry for anything that would cause the error. The internet was no help either, the one half way decent idea I found was to try the “smart steam” crack, but that did not help us at all (in fact just caused us more issues). We tried many other, almost silly, fixes too.

We were racking our brains at this point, why were three of four computers able to join a game with the one PC that had never gotten the error, but not able to join any games with each other? Then we realized the only relevant difference was that the working PC -the one that never got the error, period- had the game installed on a second HDD (D:) in a custom directory. At this point, we already tried reinstalling the game on the non-working PCs in a custom folder and it did not help.

The fix for us was to run the game off of a different drive other than C: on the trouble PCs. Well technically one of them is still running it off the default directory on C:, because only one doing that was not causing us any issues. The two we fixed do not have second hard drives, so how we fixed this was having them run the game off of my server that is in the same LAN. I just created a share, copied the whole (crack and all) install directory of the game to it, and had the PCs run the game off of the server. Worked perfect.

Of course, not everyone has a server sitting in their LAN room, but running it from anywhere other than C: seems to fix the issue. So you could just run the game off of an external drive, or a share that is just on another PC in your LAN. For doing it over the network, you can either map a drive, or just create a shortcut to the UNC path of the DOW exe.

Even more ironic, is that now we can even connect to games with two people using the same name

I know its a stupid sounding fix, but I hope this helps someone. Happy LAN gaming!

Help get Valkyria 3 released in the US!

I’m sure by now most fans of Valkyria Chronicles are well aware of the in limbo state of the US release of the third title in the series. Apparently someone at Sega said in an interview a couple weeks ago that Valkyria 3 will not be coming stateside. This was later confirmed by another Sega employee.

More recently, yet another rep from Sega, after receiving a physical copy of an online petition to get the game released in the US, told fans that “not all hope is lost”.

Every Valkyria fan, even those without a PSP, should head on over to the Gallian Liberation Front to help in their campaign to help get the game released in the US in some form or another.

If you are on Facebook, you can start by “liking” their Facebook page. Also, you should sign the online petition to get the game released. I know fans doing stuff like this rarely makes a difference, but apparently Sega has taken notice of the fan response and now is the time for voicing your desire for the game! Every little bit helps, so go support GLF and their cause!

Catherine first impressions, review

I finally got around to beginning the PS3 version of Catherine for a couple hours last night, and I have to say I’m impressed. Chances are if you have been following the game’s production at all, you already bought it, but it’s been a long time since I wrote one of my mini reviews, so here we go. BTW, I highly recommend the game.

Good

– The visuals are, simply, beautiful. The in game character models and environments are the best instance of anime-style cell shading I’ve seen this side of Valkyria Chronicals. The animated (read: anime) cut scenes are equally attractive. The character designs are very likeable as well.

– They designers (character and environment) nailed the tone and atmosphere the creators where going for with this title. The gloomy nature of the story is really felt through the visuals. The same can be said about the (English) voice acting and the music. Both are impressive, and fit the game well.

– So far, the story and characters seem real, identifiable, and refreshingly mature. Vincent, the main character who is far from a hero, reminds me of myself in some ways (minus the attractive women around him, unfortunately), which makes playing as him even more believable to me. Better yet, the game encourages you to get him more drunk at the bar so that you can move around faster in the nightmare (action) parts of the game.  

– There are questions you answer at the end of every act, as well as dialog choices of things you say to other characters in the story mode. You can also choose different ways to respond to text messages (which, so far for me, only come from Katherine). The game encourages you to make these decisions in tune with how you honestly feel, and you will get to see how it affects the story. It is very interesting, but I fear that it will just turn out to be a good/bad ending sort of deal, not having as dramatic of an effect as promised. Either way, it is enjoyable and helps you feel immersed in the story.

– Like me, most players are probably far more interested in the story and visuals of Catherine, but I was surprised to find that -thus far- I really enjoy the action/puzzle game play as well. I played on the “Normal” difficulty, because I refuse to play any game on easy. The action is certainly challenging, and you will get annoyed and die a lot. But they give you more than enough continues and most levels have a check point midway-ish you can restart from. The “boss” levels, are particularly difficult, brutal even. Fortunately, for those that are not up to the challenge, there is an easy mode that describes itself as for those that only want to enjoy the story.

Neutral

– This is not “one of those games”. You know what I am talking about. Sexy visuals are a major theme in the game, and there are some risqué scenes for sure. The box art and nifty art book that come with the standard version of the game do not help it’s cause either. Basically, what I’m getting at here is that while it certainly is not, your friends and family that know nothing about the game are likely to conclude you’re playing one of those weird, pervy anime porn games. Even I was too self-conscious to walk into an actual store and buy the game, I got my copy online…

– The controls for the action mode can be a little dodgy and difficult to master at first, which of course leads to many frustrating mistakes and deaths. Hang in there though, you’ll get used to the controls.

– Horror, as a genre or state of mind, is extremely difficult to pull off in anime and manga. Suspense, psychological and emotional unease, sure no problem, but horror is hard to convey in this art form. This is not a bash against the game, which describes itself as horror, but just don’t expect Silent Hill levels of terror from Catherine.

Bad

– Regrettably, this is a glaring flaw in the game. To put it nicely, that audio levels for the vocal tracks are fucked up. The voice work is quiet and somewhat difficult to hear during the action parts as well as the story parts that use the in game resources (graphics). Sometimes background noises (especially in the action parts) make matters worse. It is easy enough to turn up the volume on your TV and that fixes that. The problem is that the audio for the anime cut scenes is quite loud. So you may have turned up the volume to hear what is going on in one scene better, only to have it blasting at you in the next. There are no in game options to adjust the various volume levels either. This is not a deal-breaker, but is very frustrating in a game that is so focused on story.

– A minor annoyance, but there is always a small watermark on the upper left hand corner of the screen during the story mode. This is supposed to be there because, as you find out at the beginning of the game, you are watching this all on some fictional TV show (which in itself is kind of a lame idea). It can be a little distracting, and cannot be disabled.